Australian label Romance Was Born has always held an enchanting artistic aesthetic – a collaboration with Marvel Comics for spring/summer 2012/13 echoed Roy Lichtenstein’s cartoon heroes, while prints in its 2013 Kawaii Hawaii collection were inspired by designer Ebony Bizys and appear as bright canvases dashed with paint; collages of floral and hyper colour. It is fitting then that the designers behind Romance Was Born – Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett – have partnered with Perth-based artist Rebecca Baumann to show their most recent collection as an immersive exhibition of fashion and art, rather than the regular runway routine.
Baumann met the Romance Was Born duo at the SOYA (Spirit of Youth) awards in 2009, and a collaboration has been on the cards ever since. “The timing was never right,” she says. “But it all came to fruition for this exhibition.” Reflected Glory takes place in a haunting atrium in Carriageworks. Between the shadows in the space are transfixing kaleidoscopes of brilliant colour. Refracted light from coloured mirrors, Plexiglass and draped metallic wrapping paper splays across the floor, while wild, sequinned garments in rainbow hues hang from the ceiling, turning slowly and softly, creating shafts of vivid theatre lighting.
“Generally I’ve been interested in celebration and in emotional states, such as happiness,” Baumann says of her practice. “We are coming from different disciplines, but this project has been about bouncing off of each other.”
Sales and Plunkett have designed each dress to honour special, celebrated memories of nights past, reflecting the elation of Baumann’s elaborate mirror sculptures. As examples of this the dresses hang suspended and glittering in the near dark.
Reflected Glory is on show at Carriageworks until May 11.
Rebecca Baumann and Romance Was Born will be in conversation with Carriageworks visual arts curator, Beatrice Gralton on Saturday April 12, from 3 – 4pm. Bookings are recommended.